Healthcare Review: Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Affymax, Zalicus Inc, Humana Inc, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 13:17
U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, pushing the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time intraday high, as healthcare stocks surged after a government decision raised prospects of higher profits.  The group gained after the U.S. government dropped plans to cut payments for private Medicare Advantage insurers and instead said it would raise them by 3.3 percent. The broad market's rise countered Monday's sell-off. Most investors expect moves to be limited this week before Friday's U.S. monthly payrolls report. In an effort to bring down the unemployment rate, the Federal Reserve has maintained an accommodative monetary policy, which has also benefited stocks.

Following are notable movers:-

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:OPTR) shares increased 18.68% to $13.85. The company drew interest from drugmakers including GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) and Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc. (4503), said two people familiar with the matter today. The maker of the antibiotic Dificid aims to fetch as much as $1 billion in a possible auction, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Optimer also attracted interest from Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CBST) and AstraZeneca Plc, said one of the people.

Additionally, Zacks reaffirmed their neutral rating on shares of Optimer Pharmaceutic (NASDAQ: OPTR) in a report issued on Mar. 28. The firm currently has a $12.00 target price on the stock.

Affymax, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFY) shares declined 7.97% to $1.25. The company today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012. The net loss for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $68.3 million (or ($1.85) per share) compared to a net loss of $29.4 million (or ($0.82) per share) for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Earlier this month, the Company began reorganizing its operations in order to significantly reduce operating costs and negotiating with Takeda to collaboratively focus on the OMONTYS safety and other related FDA issues associated with the recall of the product.

Zalicus Inc. (NASDAQ:ZLCS) shares raised 1.53% to $0.670. The company, on April 2, announced that it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) covering novel formulations of its product candidate Z160. United States patent number 8,409,560, entitled "Solid Dispersion Formulations and Methods of Use Thereof," provides broad coverage for a range of novel Z160 pharmaceutical compositions and methods of using these compositions in the treatment of pain.

Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM) shares gained 6.68% to $80.03. The company, on March 28 reported that it will release its financial results for the first quarter 2013 (1Q13) on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 6:00 a.m. eastern time. The company will host a conference call, as well as a virtual slide presentation at 9:00 a.m. eastern time that same morning to discuss its financial results for the quarter and earnings guidance for 2013.

Additionally, the company on April 2 said it was "pleased" that government regulators altered the Medicare Advantage rates initially proposed in February, but that certain adjustments "may still present meaningful challenges in certain geographies."

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSEAMEX:INO) shares dropped 10.47% to $0.506. The company today announced the release of preliminary clinical trial results by its collaborator ChronTech AS of their open label phase II clinical study of ChronVac-C®, ChronTech's vaccine to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Additionally, the company, on Mar. 18, reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012.




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